Caviar is always a good idea. And they don’t always have to be the most expensive fish eggs on the block. A jaunty presentation with several great accompaniments, and a favorite sparkling wine or chilled vodka can make for a most memorable experience.
Purists prefer to eat expensive caviar off the back of the hand, between the index finger and thumb so as to enjoy that pure unadulterated burst of the sea.
But it is also quite fun to put out many accompaniments and let your guests experiment with their own special pairings and combinations. Try fresh-shucked oysters with a dollop of crème fraîche topped with caviar. Or maybe a warm blini with butter, hard-cooked egg yolk and finely minced onion with caviar on top…
Perhaps 2021 will be a year to indulge and to allow oneself to enjoy life’s finer pleasures… and not wait for a special occasion?
Turkey with Sweet Potato Noodles
Chili Oil Sauce, Celery, Fresh Herbs, Peanuts
Wow. We were so impressed with a version of this edgy recipe for leftover turkey from San Francisco Chef Brandon Jew. It’s the opposite of everything one thinks of Thanksgiving leftovers: spicy, cool, vinegary, vibrant, herby, even tingling…the Chef says it’s a nod to the Sichuan dish ma la ji pian that typically features chicken chunks in chili oil. Those looking for a leftover turkey recipe that is deliciously out-of-the-box will be extremely excited about this one.
Made only from sweet potato starch and water, sweet potato noodles are also known as Korean glass noodles. They do not contain wheat so these noodles are naturally gluten-free, and are slightly chewy and springy with a neutral flavor perfect for absorbing chili oil sauce.
My adaptation of Chef Jew’s recipe is below, using more readily available ingredients and it’s a bit less spicy to boot. If Sichuan peppercorns are not available, leaving them out will eliminate the tingling sensation, but this dish will still be worth making! His original recipe is here.
Turkey with Sweet Potato Noodles Recipe
Plus My “Do Nothing” Recipe for Cooking a Perfect Turkey
An enjoyable dinner at the new Bugsy & Meyer’s Steakhouse here in Las Vegas and the approaching Jewish High Holy Days curiously inspired us to make homemade blintzes.
We discovered that infamous Jewish mobsters Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky were huge fans of the Cheese Blintzes at Ratner’s Restaurant. Founded in 1905 and located on the Lower East Side of New York City, Ratner’s did not serve meat in deference to the kosher prohibition against mixing milk with meat. They served a Jewish kosher dairy menu with cheese blintzes as one of the most loved dishes.
Growing up, our Jewish pancakes were always stuffed with farmer cheese, but, alas, not the easiest cheese to find in modern times… As luck would have it, my friends at Lifeway Kefir make Farmer Cheese that is happily having a resurgence. It is a cultured soft cheese made from an old world recipe with a distinctive tangy flavor, and packed with probiotics. Feeling nostalgic for Jewish comfort foods from our youth, we found the perfect authentic filling for our blintzes.
We prefer our blintzes cooked in browned butter for a nuttier taste and on the slightly crispy side, always served with the obligatory sour cream and lots of other complementary toppings. Here’s our recipe….
Joyeux Anniversaire Julia Child! Today would have been Julia’s 108th birthday. It has been a tradition to celebrate her birthday on Taste With The Eyes for the past several years.
This year, let’s raise a toast to Julia with one of her favorite cocktails, the Upside-Down Martini also known as a reverse or “wet” martini, made with five parts vermouth to one part gin. We are going to craft Julia’s special drink with exclusively French alcools.
Noilly Prat was a favorite of Julia’s, a fine vermouth, beautifully crafted by the sea in the South of France. It is made with 14 global herbs and spices such as chamomile and coriander from Morocco, bitter orange from Tunisia, and orris root from Italy.
Diplôme Dry Gin has been produced in France since 1945 from a selection of the finest natural botanicals including genever berries, whole lemons, angelica, saffron, and fennel seed. The original recipe was perfected during WWII in the City of Dijon. At the end of the war, the original recipe became the official gin for the American Army stationed in Europe.
With naturally less alcohol than a traditional martini, Julia would say, “The best thing about a reverse martini is that you can have two of them!” (Full upside-down martini recipe below).
A Historic Re-Creation
Please join me as I re-create Julia Child’s very first meal in France, one that she experienced with her husband Paul Child. The story takes place in Rouen, France in November of 1948.
I originally wrote this post back in 2007. I resurrect it in August, sometimes with a new recipe, to celebrate Julia Child’s birthday. This year I am including a drink that she especially liked, the Upside-Down Martini.
The text is as she describes her meal to us inMy Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme, published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2006.
The re-creation photographs are ones that I have taken on my travels; some are from France, others from California, a couple are shot in my own home. I use the sepia tone to give the images the feel of a single place over 70 years ago.
Come, let’s travel back in time and enjoy French food and revel in its perfection via Julia…
Chilled Kefir Soup With Cucumber,
Herbs, Edible flowers, and Kefir “Waves”
This hot weather calls for a cool refreshing light lunch. How does Chilled Kefir Soup with Cucumber and Herbs served with home-baked seeded artisan bread and a glass of un-oaked chardonnay sound? How about we serve it Spa Style, in the pool. Put on your swimming suit and let’s do lunch!
Heirloom Tomatoes and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
Green Olive/Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette, Shallots, Baby Basil
If you’ve been following Taste With The Eyes for a while, you know that I love to re-create dishes. Not just the food but the entire experience, including the ambience right down to the china, glass, and silver.
The most popular by far is the re-enactment of Julia Child’s first meal in France in 1948 including her recipe for Sole Meunière. I also visually attempt to reconstruct her experience in a beautiful courtyard at a little white table beneath a leafy trellis discussing the merits of Loup de Mer; and her charming memory of Tijuana, Mexico and Caesar Cardini in her kitchen preparing Caesar Salad and Salmon en Papillote.
The humble tomato salad was as memorable as the over-the-top duo of truffle dishes – filet mignon with sauce perigourdine and truffle pasta. The salad was shot in my atelier, attempting to duplicate the chef’s recipe from taste memory and mimicking the ambiance of the supper club (with some jazz tunes playing in the background of course).
This Greek Yogurt parfait is super fresh, colorful, and mighty flavorful. Kale pesto is simultaneously earthy, nutty, garlicky, and salty. All these savory flavors harmonize with the creamy yogurt and are layered with blackberries, tomatoes, avocado, and walnuts for a delightful healthy cool lunch on a hot day.